Why Pre-Trial Release Is Bad For Colorado
Here are some of the reasons why Pretrial Services is not the best option when dealing with the court systems in Colorado. Don’t get me wrong, extra reporting and having defendants go through Pretrial Services helps out in certain circumstances, but not always. Below are some reasons why Pretrial Services is not the best options for Bail Bonds in Colorado or in the best interest for the state, society, and the defendants. I am also going to point out some of the arguments Pretrial Services has brought up to defend themselves and show you why they are false.
Pretrial Service’s arguments about why they think there system is the best:
• Pretrial Services think that it would decrease jail populations in Colorado by making it easier to get released
• They also feel that it would be easier for lower income families in Colorado to get out of jail.
(Read Below And It Will Explain Why This Is Wrong)
The reasons why Pretrial Services is not a good option for bail bonds in Colorado.
• Pretrial Services charges fees and money for their monitoring, if the defendant can’t pay, there not released, this goes against making it easier for low income families to get out and watch out it could potentially increase Colorado jail populations.
• Many defendants will be forced to choose between maintaining employment or maintaining their bond conditions by needing additional time off not only for court, but for meeting monitoring requirements which typically are unavailable after “Close of Business.”
• We go back to the cost for the low income families needing additional funds to pay for failing to meet monitoring requirements
• Another cost increase will be from the increase in Failure to Appears. With the increase in Personal Recognizance releases having no financial or other investment at risk in returning to court, it is human nature that more people will not return. Even if it is a Co-Signed Personal Recognizance bond, both the Co-Signer and the defendant still have nothing at risk.
• If a low income individual is unable to bond it is either because the bond set is high due to a Judge seeing there is a high flight risk or a danger to the public.
o Further they probably have no family and poor ties to the community, again showing a high likelihood of absconding.
• Staffing requirements for Risk Assessment and Case Managers are unobtainable costs for rural counties.
• A Defendants incarceration on simple misdemeanors could be actually longer due to unavailability of Pre-Trial services personnel. Arrested on Friday night, Risk Assessment not available until Monday morning. This bill would limit the use of Bond Schedules.
• Bond Agents, by statute, must pay the Courts the bond amount if a defendant absconds. If they do not, by statute, they cannot write further bonds. Bond Agents have the power to seize and surrender the defendant. Pre-Trial services has neither the power to seize a defendant, nor do they pay the amount of bond if the defendant absconds.
o This again adds to costs by reducing income from bond forfeitures and increasing costs of Law Enforcement Agencies by having to investigate the fugitive’s whereabouts and make an apprehension.
Our Example of Why Pretrial Services is Bad For Colorado!!
In April of 2013 we had a defendant fail to appear in court on one of our bail bonds. We knew he had been required to report to Pre-trial Services so we decided to see if they had any information on his location so we could bring him back to court. We went to their offices to go over the case and see if they had a location on him in order for us to return the defendant to court and custody. When we met with Pre-trial Services they were very friendly, but from what they told us is that he never reported to them in August of 2012 when he got released (It is now April 2013). Even after failing to report to Pretrial Services they did nothing about it. Pretrial Services has no power of arrest so they cannot go out and arrest the individual. From what Pretrial Services told us is that they just CLOSED the case! (How can you close a case when a defendant fails to comply and do nothing about this, he could be a danger to the community and society). After about 2 weeks of searching for this defendant and working with his family we found out he abused alcohol and was on the verge of killing himself because of his alcohol abuse. We caught him about 1 week after and was able to turn him into the police where he will get the help he needs. This just shows how Pretrial Services did nothing about a guy who violated his conditions of his bail bond and it could have potentially caused a disruption to Colorado and its communities.